Recorded in three different studios over ten years and including material from as far back as 1992, the fifth album from Norwegian nutjob Furze (aka Woe J. Reaper), Psych Minus Space Control is, to put it mildly, odd, its many charms arising from its many eccentricities. Never one to produce the predictable, Furze – which, incidentally, translates from German to English as 'fart' – has produced an album that many a space rock band would consume with glee at the improvisational possibilities they present. Combine that with the Sabbath doom and the psychedelic colours that Furze dispenses into his river of peculiarity and you've got an album that could potentially suffocate on its own self-indulgence. Does it? Nope, not at all.
Take opener 'Occult Soul, With Mind'. It's every Sabbath riff you ever heard (played seemingly ad infinitum) without even the vaguest trace of irony. So how can Furze get away with it? Well, considering metal has been attempting to disguise the fact that every riff ever played is traceable back to them damned evil Brummies, why shouldn't he? Okay, so all the other bands have been a little more, shall we say, eloquent in their homage, but Furze's honest approach is more direct and, well, humorous, particularly when all kinds of sonic psychedelia subtly manifests itself and transforms it from mere pastiche to something between parody and innovation. Maybe Furze is playfully suggesting that metal is, to paraphrase Sartre, condemned to doom? Who's to know, but each doom-heavy riff, every bass-heavy tom, and every tinkled cymbal smacks of intelligent design. And it doesn't end there, oh no. The twisted homage continues with the fourteen and a half minute epic voyage that is 'Psych Mooz Space Control'. From its small beginning, gentle melodic sounds reverberate in the ether and swell and merge until, at about the five minute mark, a black metal dirge of ice cold chords lurches over the horizon with dark, foreboding drums, harsh guitars and a clanking bass gnawing away and subsuming the spacey atmosphere. The journey is something extraordinary, unorthodox, and, frankly, marvellously lunatic. After a two minute intro of psychedelic chimes and spooky mysterious sounds, 'Reaper Subconscious Guide's healthy dose of oft-repeated Sabbath/Stoner/Doom riffs is peppered with more of said chimes and sounds that appear, twirl about a bit, and promptly disappear into the strangely. Absolutely mental. After a doom-meets-choral voices intro, 'Triad of Lucifer' combines black arpeggiated riffs with stoner grooves and psychedelic jams that stretch from the outer reaches of the universe to the very depths of the starship orifice from whence the very effluence known as humanity was slowly squeezed. And the up-tempo stoner fuzz of 'When Always Ready' – the only track with a vocal – has maniacal laughter and insane utterances scattered across it as it shifts between upward-spiralling jams and dirty, swinging doom passages.
Furze's humour is dark, or at least strangely brown, and if you want an unconventional journey through doom-laden skies and mind-blowing universes, Psych Minus Space Control is the strangest route out there. The first few listens will be utterly baffling but after a few listens, the layers begin to unfold and Furze's humour reveals itself in the musical madness woven into the album and will become increasingly compelling. Absolutely marvellously mental. All of it.
- Occult Soul, With Mind
- Psych Mooz Space Control
- Reaper Subconscious Guide
- Triad Of Lucifer
- When Always Ready